Failure to Address a High-Risk Pregnancy Can Be OBGYN Malpractice
For a high-risk pregnancy, all of the responsibility does not always fall on the shoulders of the parents. When there is a failure to assess complications of a high-risk pregnancy, it may lead to a doctor or another medical professional being liable for OBGYN malpractice.
Definition of a High-risk Pregnancy
Pregnancies that are considered high risk may put the mother or baby at risk to develop health complications. Keep in mind that it doesn’t necessarily mean something will always go wrong. Regardless, it’s critical that the mother is closely monitored by a doctor or sometimes a specialist.
Some of the issues in a high-risk pregnancy could apply before, during or after the delivery. These risk factors could be directly related to the mother or the unborn baby.
Factors of a High-risk Pregnancy
Health problems in the mother can increase the risk of complications in a pregnancy. Examples include epilepsy, cancer, kidney disease, diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure).
Some of these conditions developed before the pregnancy, and others develop as a result of it. For instance, Pregnancy-induced Hypertension (PIH) can occur at different points in the pregnancy. Before week 20, it is called chronic hypertension, and after week 20 it is called gestational hypertension. Hypertension during pregnancy affects six to eight percent of all women, according to the American Pregnancy Association.
PIH could lead to yet another complication, preeclampsia. Not only is the blood pressure elevated, but so is protein in the urine. If this condition goes undiagnosed, it could turn into a life-threatening condition for both the baby and the mother, eclampsia.
The following are other maternal factors that could create a high-risk pregnancy:
- age (younger than 17 and older than 35);
- use of drugs, alcohol or tobacco;
- carrying twins, triplets or other multiples;
- past due date;
- abnormal levels of amniotic fluid (too little or too much); and
- certain types of medications.
Even past pregnancy problems could be factors in high-risk pregnancies. Examples include genetic problems in previous babies, seizures, preeclampsia or preterm labor. An birth injury lawyer in Ohio can help worried mothers determine if they are, or were, included in this definition and how that may have affected problems during pregnancy.
Avoiding Complications Associated with a High-risk Pregnancy
Medical professionals can’t always prevent complications of a high-risk pregnancy. But failing to assess them could cause unnecessary health problems. A birth injury lawyer can target whether or not a medical practitioner may have acted in the wrong.
The following are some ways that proper medical care and treatment could help expectant mothers avoid problems during pregnancy:
- extra prenatal visits;
- additional ultrasounds;
- further testing (urine, blood, genetic);
- blood pressure checkups;
- being seen by regular doctor and a maternal-fetal specialist or perinatologist;
- closer monitoring of fetus;
- treatment options (hospitalization, medication, bed rest, etc.); and
- delivery in a specialized hospital.
The measures taken will depend on the type of risk and when it is highest (such as before, during or after delivery). Mothers have enough to worry about during pregnancy, so if there is a suspicion that a healthcare practitioner made a mistake and caused a birth injury, contact a attorney for help compiling a claim.
Liability for Injuries Caused by a High-risk Pregnancy
Because of the risks, it can be difficult to determine if injuries sustained were preventable or not. Liability could extend to the OBGYN malpractice, physician, specialist, nurse, midwife and others involved in the mother’s care.
To learn more about available legal options, contact The Becker Law Firm. If it’s believed that medical care was insufficient, such as not assessing complications of a high-risk pregnancy, it may qualify a patient to file a claim with an Elyria Birth Injury Lawyer in Ohio.